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ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Issued
Mon, December 30th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Expires
Tue, December 31st, 2013 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
John Fitzgerald
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche hazard continues to be MODERATE today above treeline.   It is still possible for humans to trigger pockets of slab up to a foot in depth in steep upper elevation terrain.   Below treeline the avalanche hazard is LOW, where the entire snowpack is losing strength and the ability to produce any slab avalanches.

Mon, December 30th, 2013
Alpine
Above 2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
1 - Low
2 - Moderate
3 - Considerable
4 - High
5 - Extreme
Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk
Travel Advice Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern. Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential. Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended. Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
Likelihood of Avalanches Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely. Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible. Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely. Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely. Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
Avalanche Size and Distribution Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain. Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas. Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas. Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas. Very large avalanches in many areas.
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Persistent Slabs
    Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) in the middle to upper snowpack, when the bond to an underlying persistent weak layer breaks. Persistent layers include: surface hoar, depth hoar, near-surface facets, or faceted snow. Persistent weak layers can continue to produce avalanches for days, weeks or even months, making them especially dangerous and tricky. As additional snow and wind events build a thicker slab on top of the persistent weak layer, this avalanche problem may develop into a Deep Persistent Slab.
More info at Avalanche.org

Avalanche activity has been on the steady decline over the past week.  The last reported human triggered avalanche in the forecast area occurred on Thursday December 26th.  The nature of a persistent weakness in our snowpack is such that instability continues for extended periods.  While the likelihood of triggering a slab avalanche gets lower with each passing day, the possibility still remains.  The setup still exists for a slab avalanche to occur, especially in steep terrain above treeline.  Test results have been confirming this over the past several days.  It is getting more difficult to initiate an avalanche, but the possibility for an avalanche to propagate across a slope remains.

With all of this in mind, it will be important to approach steep slopes in the higher elevations with caution.  It may be possible to get onto multiple slopes in this category without incident but eventually find a slope that will avalanche.  Because of this possibility it is worth continuing to use good travel habits; one at a time on a slope, avoid being above your partner, have an escape route planned and carry & know how to use your safety equipment.

Weather
Mon, December 30th, 2013

In the past 24 hours the mountains around Eastern Turnagain Arm have seen temperatures remain mild, with ridgetop stations averaging in the mid 20s F.   Winds have been out of the East at 15-20mph with gusts to 43mph.   No new precipitation has fallen.

Today expect cloudy skies with an occasional flurry.   Ridgetop temperatures will remain mild in the mid to high 20s F and winds will be out of the East at 15 to 20 mph.

The overall weather picture is complex with a series of weak low pressure systems to the South and West.   This will produce an unsettled pattern with cloudy skies & only small amounts of precipitation.   The next shot of accumulating snow looks to arrive Tues night into Wednesday morning.

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This is a general backcountry avalanche advisory issued for Turnagain Arm with Turnagain Pass as the core advisory area. This advisory does not apply to highways, railroads or operating ski areas.